Are you a car enthusiast? If so, you might be thinking of building a unique vehicle for track day events. As you can appreciate, you wouldn’t want to use your own car to do that so you’d need another vehicle for the job.
We know what you’re thinking. You’ve never built a track day car before. And you probably don’t know how to build one! The good news is the work involved is simpler than you might think. You don’t need to spend hours with a MIG welder fabricating parts. Nor do you have to shoehorn in an engine from a different car.
You can turn any vehicle into a track day “weapon” by carrying out these steps:
Strip out the interior
One of the cheapest ways to make any track car go faster is by making it lighter! You might not realise it, but the interior of your car is heavy! It’s not unusual for car seats and trim panels to weigh up to 200kg. Modern car interiors also contain a lot of wiring, some of which gets used by the seats and centre console.
The only things you need in your car is the driver’s seat, dashboard dials and instruments. Of course, you also need the gear lever and handbrake. Everything else like HVAC controls, door panels and carpets can go!
Install a roll cage
Once you have a lighter car, you need to make it safer for high-speed track driving. We recommend you have a roll cage fitted inside of your car. The ones from CustomCages.co.uk don’t add much weight. But, they do increase your car’s safety and stability.
Most cages can get bought for specific cars. All you need to do is bolt them in. For added strength, it’s worth welding some sections into place. Whether you need to do this or not will depend on the car and cage that you have.
Upgrade the tyres
It’s no secret that a track session will result in extreme tyre wear. That’s why you should buy a few sets of tyres for your track car wheels. We recommend looking at EventTyres.co.uk for some examples.
Consider investing in a wheel balancing machine that you can use at home. That way, you can fit new tyres to your wheels and save time and money.
Replace your windows with perspex
If you’ve ever held a pane of glass or even a large mirror, you’ll know how heavy they are! Many track day car owners replace their windows with perspex or polycarbonate windows.
Not only are they are up to 50% lighter, but they are also safer too. You can get perspex windows made to order so that they can get bolted onto the doors and shell. The driver’s window should have a slot you can open for safety and communication reasons.
Fit bigger brakes
If your wheels can handle it, replace your stock brake setup with bigger calipers, discs and pads. You might need to install bigger wheels if the calipers don’t fit behind them.
The advantage of installing larger brakes is you’ll increase your stopping power. Consider upgrade to six-piston calipers for extra performance. All too often, people only think about ways to boost their power on the track. They seldom think about how to stop faster!
Fit firmer suspension
Let’s face it. You need your car to handle like a go-kart on the track! The standard suspension on your new track day car will need to go. In its place should be a firm yet adjustable spring and shock absorber setup.
Koni and Bilstein are two brands that many track day enthusiasts swear by. Of course, there are plenty of other brands out there too. Lowering your centre of gravity will help you get better traction. Especially when driving at speed.
If you’re upgrading your brakes, change the suspension at the same time. Once you’ve fitted your new springs and shocks, be sure to have the wheel alignment adjusted!
Give your engine a tune-up
We often read about how people spend thousands modifying their engines for extra power. We’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t need to do that!
Quite often it’s possible to make an engine more responsive just by tuning it up. Here are some examples of what you should do:
- Flush the engine oil and replace any leaking oil seals;
- Fit a competition-grade oil filter to your engine;
- Use only the recommended engine oil for your car;
- Replace the paper air filter with a foam one from K&N;
- De-coke the rocker cover and clean the PCV valve;
- De-coke the intake breather hoses for your engine
If you’ve got a petrol car, you should also fit high-performance spark plugs. Make sure they have the right “gap” for optimal spark.